Kitchen Cabinets #1: Upper Cabinets are installed

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Blog entry by bunkie posted 11-09-2009 04:46 AM 6155 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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During the week, my wife and I live in a studio apartment in Manhattan. On weekends we escape to our weekend house. We bought it about two-and-a-half years ago. My wife fell in love with the view. It is spectacular, one-of-a-kind. The house, however, was less than ideal from my perspective. The floors were a mess. The trim and doors were nasty. Everything needed painting. And the kitchen was crying out for updating. In the intervening years, we put in oak floors (that was a lot of work), re-sculpted the yard and painted. In the summer of 2008, I began construction of new cabinets. Since it’s a weekend project it is taking longer than I expected.

This weekend, however, a major event occurred: I installed all of the upper cabinets. Here’s what the kitchen looked like Saturday morning:

Here’s what it looks like now:

The cabinets are made from Maple plywood. The edges are done with iron-on edgebanding. The finish on the doors is lacquer rubbed out with wet-sanding in 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grits with a final compounding with automotive rubbing compound. By the way, did you know that a random-orbit sander can be used to rub out the compound? just ripped a square of terrycloth and stuck it to the velcro pad.

The cabinets are assembled using pocket screws done with my Kreg jig. It turns out that this is very useful. You’ll note that the right-most cabinet isn’t installed. That’s because I lost 1/4” along the way and at 18”, 17 3/4” of available space wasn’t enough. Big problem? No. I just disassembled the cabinet and ripped 1/4” off the top, bottom, door and back of the cabinet. It took all of 30 minutes to re-size the cabinet. Today I installed it and it fits very nicely.

The cabinet above the microwave has the shop-made pulls I crafted. I have a box of scraps of exotic hardwood. I turned some 1”x1” stock into a cylinder, polished it on the lathe and split it with my bandsaw. I then made little blocks of cherry to hold the pulls off the face of the doors. I’m quite proud of them. Sadly, neither my wife or I think that they work in this instance. I’ll be going with a simple wire pull from Ikea instead. It preserves the Scandinavian modern look that we both like.

Next week, I get serious about the base cabinets. Stay tuned…

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

7 comments so far

View woodchic's profile


841 posts in 3321 days

#1 posted 11-09-2009 04:53 AM

looking good, keep up the good work.

Robin Renee’


-- Robin Renee'

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4364 days

#2 posted 11-09-2009 05:02 AM

Nice job.

I’m working on my cabinets also. I installed the base cabinets first and am working on the uppers now. I’ve got blogs of the construction.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3786 days

#3 posted 11-09-2009 02:01 PM

These are a good looking set of cabinets. They certainly transformed the look of the kitchen and made it much lighter looking.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3111 days

#4 posted 11-09-2009 04:40 PM


While I’m certainly proud of my work (while mindful of my large number of mistakes) your cabinets are a work of art and give me something to aspire to.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View woodworm's profile


14462 posts in 3554 days

#5 posted 11-11-2009 03:09 PM

I can “feel” the difference, great job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3289 days

#6 posted 11-16-2009 12:26 AM

Amazing transformation.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3637 days

#7 posted 11-22-2009 12:45 AM

Nice job.

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